Watching a helicopter take off and land is always intriguing. After all, it seems as though the gravity defying mechanisms of the helicopter work just like magic, and it is true that every aircraft is made with an emphasis on perfection. Although helicopters have gone through a series of transformations over the years, the basic fundamentals of how they fly have stayed much the same. As you get ready to board your next helicopter tour, be ready to impress your fellow passengers with this information about how these incredible aircrafts work.
How Helicopters Achieve a Vertical Lift
The most obvious difference between a helicopter and an airplane is the ability to fly vertically, which is one of the reasons why helicopter charter residents are able to depart quickly from the heliport whenever the need arises. In most cases, the lift for an aircraft is created with its wings. For a helicopter, a lift is generated by the way the main rotor blades are formed so the air is pushed in a downward movement when the blades spin. As the air pressure changes, the helicopter lifts up. The high rate of speed that must occur for the blades to generate this reaction is why you must always follow the safety protocols for entering and exiting the helicopter on your tour around NYC.
The Role of the Second or Tail Rotor
Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and this concept is evident in the design of helicopters. As the rotors spin with great force, it affects the stability of the entire helicopter and causes it to want to spin in the opposite direction. For this reason, a second large rotor or tail rotor is added to the helicopter that serves as a counter balance. In addition to helping to keep the helicopter steady, this secondary rotor also plays a role in how the helicopter is steered during an on air tour.
How Pilots Control the Helicopter
Pilots learn how to control the helicopter by altering the angle and speed of the rotors by using hand levers, foot pedals and a throttle. To hover, the pilot must balance the weight of the helicopter with the amount of force generated by the lift. This is done by altering the angle at which the blades are at as they hit the oncoming air during the spins. Helicopters can also be steered to go backwards and sideways as well as forwards. To do these types of movements, the pilot uses special levers. For instance, the cyclic pitch changes the angle of the main rotor blades so that the helicopter moves sideways.
Helicopters are one of the most beneficial inventions of modern times, and their use ranges from complicated military maneuvers to tourist adventures in the big city. Whether you are enjoying a short tour or chartering to a special destination, knowing how your helicopter works allows you to enjoy a deeper appreciation of the moment.